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Meet Kevin Kennedy of Upholstery on Broadway in Arlington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Kennedy.

Kevin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My start in the service industry began cleaning hair salon drains, breaking cement steps with a sledge hammer, cleaning windows, mowing lawns. This was through a community program when I was thirteen, usually getting jobs no one else wanted to do. There were not glamorous jobs, but early lessons about service and work ethic, which I use to this day. Later in my teen years I began working as a laborer at Ruby’s Upholstery in Newton Massachusetts. There I met the “world” for the first time. Through my mentors, who were survivors and refugees from World War II, men with painful memories who I came to understand and love.

Has it been a smooth road?
Learning any trade means eating humble pie every day. You come to whoever is teaching you as an unwritten book, whose pages need to be filled with the knowledge and skill of his mentor. A true apprentice/mentor relationship requires trust and is rarely attained in this imperfect world. My early years were filled with long tedious tasks, dirty jobs, and heavy lifting. Like moving a five hundred pound cotton bale up two flights of stairs by using the rolling and holding technique. Staying power is essential.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Upholstery on Broadway – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Upholstery on Broadway is a fully operational custom upholstery shop specializing in everything from repairing webbing on seat bottoms to diamond tufting. Upholstery on Broadway is also an upholstering school offering an apprenticeship-style approach to learning, in a compassionate and inclusive setting. I am most proud of my business when a student comes to me after a session and thanks me for the respite in their life away from day to day struggles.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
As a history buff. I often think of the Arbella sailing into Boston Harbor with John Winthrop aboard, delivering his sermon of 1630 “A Model of Christian Charity,” his vision of Boston as “a shining city upon a hill.” If his vision was one of inclusion, I think it has come true, for through my threshold on Upholstery on Broadway the world has come to me in all its multiplicity, people from every corner of the earth, from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and professions. Boston’s great diversity fulfills Winthrop’s vision. Sadly, this ship has left many behind, homeless, disenfranchised, struggling. I’d like to see Boston take better care of its homeless.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Patrick Kennedy

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